Construction students have been learning the true value of their trades after helping to restore a fire ravaged home in Redcar.
Plastering and Painting and Decorating students from Redcar and Cleveland College put their new skills into practice, refurbishing and redecorating walls and ceilings to the first floor of the terraced house on Cropton Close.
“I couldn’t believe it when the guys got in touch to say that they would like to help,” said Dave Wilson who has faced the mammoth task of rebuilding his family home after it was gutted by fire last August.
The dad-of-four said there are no words to describe the devastation his family faced seeing their home of 14 years go up in smoke and losing almost all of their belongings.
Describing himself as still numb to the full impact of the fire and its consequences, he said: “My reaction was right let’s get it sorted. What else could I do?”
For the last 10 months, Dave has spent every spare minute working on the house. Having carried out the majority of the work himself so far he said that he has been massively grateful for every offer of help he has received along the way.
He said the day that the college got in touch with its offer of help with the plastering and decorating of the first floor was “brilliant”. He explained: “I have tried plastering before but it is not my trade. The students’ work has been awesome.”
A team of approximately 25 students spent up to three weeks helping to cut, measure and fix plaster boards, plastering the walls and ceilings before decorating the upstairs rooms.
Hoping to move back into their family home in the summer, Dave said to have those all-important upstairs bedrooms almost complete has proven a real turning point.
Redcar and Cleveland College’s Plastering lecturer Richard Cochrane said: “Our students have gained so much from this experience. Not only have they done something to help someone in the local community but they have learned so much as well.”
Work experience is an essential aspect of the construction students’ training and so Richard said: “This will have tested everything that they have been learning in the workshop, applying their knowledge to a real site.
“It was a shock for the students to walk in and see the extent of the damage. We spent time talking about the impact it will have had on the family.”
Seeing the house stripped back to its brickwork, he said: “The students now know what house joists and cables look like. They have seen how different trades work and now know how to follow a sequence of operations on site.”
Painting and Decorating lecturer Chris Allen said: “Even from a social aspect, the students have learned so much about how to behave on a working site, essential things like taking neighbours into account. The experience has helped to get the students work ready and these are the kind of skills that an employer would expect.”
For more details about our Plastering courses starting this September visit www.cleveland.ac.uk/fulltime/plastering/ or check out our Painting and Decorating courses at www.cleveland.ac.uk/fulltime/painting-decorating/
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